Book Chapters

Retail Shoppability: A Measure of the World's Best Stores

2005, Future Retail Now: 40 of the World's Best Stores

Raymond R. Burke


The ultimate goal of retailing is to bring together supply and demand; to provide consumers with a selection of goods and services that satisfy their needs profitably. While manufacturers and retailers have made considerable progress on managing the supply side, the news is not as good on the demand side. Merchants continue to have difficulty creating shopping environments that engage consumers' needs and convert these desires to purchases. Deficiencies in the shopping environment have produced high levels of consumer stress and reduced shopping frequency and purchase conversion rates.

This article introduces the concept of retail shoppability: the capacity of the shopping environment to transform consumer needs and desires into purchases. Using examples from a global study of best practices in retailing, the paper presents a set of 10 principles that can help manufacturers and retailers improve the shoppability of their stores, leading to increased sales and customer loyalty.  The paper discusses research tools that managers can use to measure the quality of the customer shopping experience and pinpoint areas in need of improvement. These include conventional techniques, such as store audits and customer surveys, as well as more sophisticated, technology-based approaches, including using virtual reality simulations of the store environment to test new concepts, and video cameras and other location sensing devices to track customer shopping patterns. The paper concludes with a discussion of future trends in customer experience management.


Burke, Raymond R. (2005), "Retail Shoppability: A Measure of the World's Best Stores," in Future Retail Now: 40 of the World's Best Stores, Washington, DC: Retail Industry Leaders Association, pp. 206-219.


retailing, shoppability, marketing, best practices


Kelley School of Business

Faculty & Research